Hi Dr. McComber,
My name is Kevin Jin, a first year dentistry student at McGill. I just wanted to personally thank you for your amazing talk yesterday. Your passion and emotions were so undeniably genuine, and with each word you spoke, I found myself feeling more moved but also anguished at this societal problem that has been so pervasive and obvious yet so inconspicuous and ignored at the same time. To be honest, growing up in Alberta (fairly conservative province I would say), I was one of the people you spoke of, who, embarrassingly, did blame the Indigenous people for their current inadequacies. I found myself time and time again venting to my friends about the “alcoholic native guy at the train station” or the “hooligan Aboriginal student who always caused trouble in school.” In middle school and high school, the focus in social studies was always around the famous European conquerors who fought mighty wars to claim North America, with the last remaining classes of the semester briefly glossing over residential schools and imperialism legacies. I think I was too young and too disinterested back then to understand and recognize the problematic methods of teaching of our education system, and too naïve to even confront my own worldview and contemplate the true reasons behind the lasting legacies that still haunt Indigenous people today.
I guess I typed all this just to say that it was an honour having you speak to us and educate us and snap us back into reality. We are so often caught up on grades and memorizing drug names that we abandon the fundamental aspect of human empathy and basic human decency. The perspective you brought is one that many people may not see or hear about in their entire lives. As the frog in the well who could only see the tiny speck of sky above him, I am grateful that you were able to broaden the horizon for all of us through your charisma, passion, and expertise. It’s because of professors like you that I was able to recognize my own selfishness, ignorance, and overall stupidity that once defined who I was and move beyond that. I hope you know the impact you’re making on future generations, if not, this email is proof. This lecture was by far the most powerful one of the block and definitely the one I will remember and carry forward into my future practices.
Thank you for your time and I hope you continue to give this lecture for many years to come.